Nothing screams, "we're really just against Nazis" like flinging bottles filled with urine at police, and burning the flag that defeated Nazism. At a 'free speech' event in Boston over the weekend -- at which counter-protesters vastly outnumbered actual demonstrators, some unclear percentage of whom showed up to espouse detestable views -- things got ugly. While an overwhelming majority of the anti-racism/anti-Alt-Right contingent conducted itself peacefully, the Antifa faction was not, and they were literally cheered on by some sympathizers. Even after the original protesters had reportedly gone home, the Antifa types did what they set out to do. They exist to sow violence and chaos. They do not exist to oppose "fascism:"
CBS NEWS: Boston Police Commissioner confirms bottles filled with urine were thrown at officers during protest. pic.twitter.com/hZ9m9b6AyM— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) August 19, 2017
It's turned violent in Boston. Heavy clashes between counter-protesters and police. pic.twitter.com/6xgNG0Gl1A— Joel Gunter (@joelmgunter) August 19, 2017
Police officers were also subjected to nasty verbal attacks, both in Boston and elsewhere. This is protected speech that's preferable to physical violence, of course, but it's a dreadful way to treat those trying to maintain the peace:
"You stupid ass black bitch! You're supposed to be on our side!" - that's what this protester screamed in the face of a black police officer https://t.co/w1ko436US4— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) August 20, 2017
Why highlight these examples? Isn't showcasing the very worst behavior of a Lefty strain needlessly divisive? Doesn't it fuel discord and foster a distorted sense of what is really going on in this country? Yes. As I've written before, the dreadful actions of extreme political elements ought not be exploited to smear entire political parties or movements in America. This applies to the Left and Right; to Democrats and Republicans. I go out of my way to attempt consistency on this point. What is a source of continuing frustration, however, is the double standard to which one political coalition is disproportionately subjected by the media. When Alt-Righters rear their ugly heads, the press affords them precisely what they want: Coverage and oxygen. Republicans, in turn, denounce the Alt-Right's bigotry (yes, Trump makes all of this much harder than it should be) and its culpability in violent clashes, including murder. Much of the media declares that any discussion of America's political violence problem must not entail the Left's substantial contributions to it, lest anyone be guilty of engaging in "equivalency" or "whataboutism." Then they also write insane, whitewashing headlines about left-wing anarchists' tactics. They publish columns feeding the liberal narrative that this is a one-sided issue, and that those who say otherwise are amoral or delusional. And in some cases, they outright excuse and defend violence:
If we have decided to shine a spotlight on the vilest segments of our society, and to demand that reputable people within their respective crudely-defined "tribes" denounce and reject them, the blame and opprobrium cannot only flow in one direction. So long as elite tastemakers insist upon this unjust dichotomy, I'm going to keep calling it out. I'll repeat:
In a national conversation on escalating political violence, noting left-wing contributions to it isn't "whataboutism."— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 16, 2017
Parting thoughts: Many people who are invested in solutions, rather than conflict, want to know how we can help salve these national wounds. A few suggestions come to mind, including encouraging our leaders to tell the truth and talk to the American people like adults. Here is what that looks like. Another positive step is to approach people of good faith who don't share one's worldview (as opposed to to white supremacists and Antifa thugs) with some degree of humility and fairness. For instance:
Ppl wondering why I take pains to differentiate BLM from antifa, & why I defend BLM's core mission, read this: https://t.co/9gd7NpdG0x— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 20, 2017
I want that to be crystal clear. BLM marshals were *preventing* fights from breaking out. 5/— Tim Pierce (@qwrrty) August 19, 2017
This is Imani, from CT. She just escorted Trump supporters through a crowd as a situation escalated. Here's why in her words: pic.twitter.com/R8W7XN58jk— Steve Annear (@steveannear) August 19, 2017
Finally, sometimes the best way to address pathetic evil is to ridicule it. This is so much more effective and biting than tossing a molotov cocktail or shouting obscenities at public safety officers:
Tubas trolling Nazis with cartoon music is my new favorite thing. pic.twitter.com/R5PsRt9ps7— Chris Sacca (@sacca) August 19, 2017
More tuba, please.